Commitment to Excellence Scholarship gains support

Analicia Haynes, Staff Reporter

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The Annual Faculty and Staff Fund Campaign is generating support this year for the Commitment to Excellence Scholarship.

The campaign works to supply funds, donated by faculty and staff members, for various programs such as scholarships.

Gary Aylesworth, a chair for the campaign, said the purpose of the campaign is to involve faculty and staff in supporting various programs such as scholarships so they feel like they are a part of the actual development of the university.

“I thought that was an important thing to do because this is our university and it’s more than just a place where we work,” Aylesworth said. “We have a connection to the institution and we want to make it as strong as it can possibly be.”

This year, the campaign is focusing on the Commitment to Excellence Scholarship but people can continue to give to all the other things that they have been donating to over the years Aylesworth said.

“You (faculty/staff) get to decide where the money goes and I think that’s what makes it appealing to people,” Aylesworth said.

According to the campaign website, there are several ways to offer support for the 2015-16 campaign.

One of the options includes giving to the EIU Community Commitment to Excellence Scholarship Fund.

The purpose for this kind of gift is to allow for ongoing support for the scholarship by reaching the minimum endowment level of $25,000 according to the website.

Andrew McNitt, the chair of the ad hoc committee, which is also trying to create support and raise money for the scholarship, said the scholarship is funded by appropriated funds or funds given by the state but state money is elsewhere.

McNitt said he hopes to raise the $25,000 for the endowment much faster than the five years allotted.

“I think it’s an excellent idea and we would like to have better financial backing,” McNitt said. “If we want the attention we need to demonstrate that it’s an important idea.”

Once the endowment is reached, the funds would be used to supplement the scholarship on a yearly basis.

“I’m an enthusiastic supporter of the endowment because it creates a permanent fund for scholarships,” McNitt said.

Aylesworth said because state funding is decreasing all the time it’s important to participate in these campaigns now more than ever.

They both said it is also important to donate because going to a university is a lot more expensive than it used to be because of the cost of tuition and student loans.

“When I went to college I had a part time job, 10 hours a week, and I paid for my tuition,” McNitt said.

Aylesworth said that in terms of dollars it was easier to pay for school in the past decades than it is now.

“In the sixties and seventies you could pay for a whole year if you worked full time over the summer and we did that,” Aylesworth said, “you can’t do that now.

So far, about 40 percent of the money necessary to open the endowment was raised from pledges and donations McNitt said.

Aylesworth also said people working together donating small amounts can still make a big difference because those small amounts add up.

 

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]